Farewell Soho, Hello Chancery Lane

CEO David Alterman reflects on a recent office move

With Apologies to The Proclaimers

When you go will you send back a letter from Chancery?

Bar Italia No More

Crown & Chairman No More

Berwick St Market no more

Bar Bruno no more

Soho House no more

Soho no more

As expensive boutiques proliferate, hardware shops shut up for good, and beer prices hit the £10 mark we knew it was time to leave Soho. After 23½ years The Nursery finally turned our back on Soho (fringes) and headed East for a new life.

To be honest Covid lockdown and post Covid hybrid working meant that our lovely office in Rathbone Place was no longer fit for purpose. An office that hummed with energy and excitement once a week but sat forlornly almost empty on other days was no longer a fun or inspiring place to be.

And if we were going to make a change then let’s go all in. After 3 months extensive search we settled on our new home – Chancery House in Chancery Lane on the site of the London Silver Vaults. Extensive renovations have created arguably the best co-working space in London. Four weeks in and partners don’t seem to disagree.

I like how we're able to explore different corners of the building and everyone can find a spot that work best for them at any given time, whether that be a quick stroll around the outside space to get some ideas flowing (especially when it's sunny outside!) or a quiet library space for when you want to focus.

I'm liking how well designed the building is. There's lots of comfortable places to sit, work, eat lunch, chat with colleagues.

There have been changes. We don’t have dedicated space that can accommodate all partners every day so a working group has come up with a working model that ensures that every fortnight teams have quality time together whilst also creating days for account teams, peer groups and other working groups. We’ll get everyone together once a month with a focus on having fun. Roll on the scavenger hunt next week.

The most radical change for us is the most counter-intuitive. Having moved into a lovely airy office with breakout spaces of all shapes and sizes, state-of-the-art meeting rooms, outdoor terraces, coffee and tea on tap, free snacks, free gym offering all conceivable punishment options and remarkably friendly and helpful concierge/support staff, we have made coming into the office discretionary.

Come in when you have a meeting – otherwise you are welcome to work somewhere else – it is up to you.

We’ve had enough of ‘presentism’ – gratuitously specifying days that people have to come in – and then they search forlornly for a quiet corner, or clog up a meeting room for client calls, online meetings or to get reports written undisturbed.

Instead we thought we’d take a different approach. Create a space that people look forward to spending time in, and then time with colleagues becomes a force for good.

It is still early days – but hybrid working is starting to make sense and genuinely offering the potential for the best of both.

Watch this space.